Galvatron II
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Oct 17, 2017 at 8:32 PM
Apr 13, 2013
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Galvatron II

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Galvatron II was last seen:
Oct 17, 2017 at 8:32 PM
    1. SMOG
      "I had a father. His name was Ben Parker."

      Absolutely. :thumb Peter has a lot of guilt and responsibility that drives him, but saddling him with even more tedious patriarchal overtones is unnecessary. It's weird, because if anything that old patrilineal bullshit is getting stronger in comics movies all the time. They did the same thing with Superman... Ma and Pa Kent are the center of his moral universe. Space-Dad should be entirely meaningless. What I loved about John Byrne's Superman of the 80s was how Clark rejected his father's world on so many levels.
    2. SMOG
      I've never felt like Peter's absent father/parents ever needed to play a big role in the Spiderman mythology, so I agree on that point. It's overkill, and only undermines the pathos of the Uncle Ben relationship. It does serve a practical need (that the movies often demand), binding the somewhat disparate array of villains into a common theme (Oscorp as broker of cyber/genetic monstrosities)... but I don't think it's necessary.

      I like Garfield's Peter quite a bit. I like the new approach to capturing Spidey-antics onscreen, moreso than Raimi's glossy CGI phantasmagorias. The emphasis on his webbing as a defining characteristic is cool too. The Gwen/Captain Stacy plot never should have been packed into the first movie though.
    3. SMOG
      Similarly, Nolan's Batman doesn't fight crime. He just fights subversive attacks against the sanctity of the city itself. For 3 straight movies. When the metaphor and the ideology completely overtakes the material itself and becomes repetitive, it starts to get tiresome.
    4. SMOG
      Obviously Iron Man's industrial/armoured theme means that a lot of his adversaries are variations thereof... but there's still a lot of other stuff in there to break up the monotony (as you point out). Iron Man has a more diverse rogue's gallery than that. Mickey Rourke in IM2 wasn't really Whiplash, so much as a fusion of different characters, and in his own way, another double... in or out of the armour. It's not that these themes are inappropriate for the genre... the double, the father figure, etc... they're at the core of superhero fiction. It's just that it gets played out.

      Stane's "evil father figure" routine was a bit arbitrary in IM, Hammer was kind of a waste of time in IM2, so yeah... Aldrich was maybe the best variation. The problem is just that he came at a point when I think the series needed more variety.
    5. SMOG
      Sad to hear that Amazing Spidey 2 was -that- bad... not surprising, but sad, since they had good ingredients in the first film, and it was just a question of whether they were going to go in the right direction from there... or the wrong one.

      I was a big Spider-man fan in the 80s, so he's a character who is always close to my heart (even if comics are such a mess these days it's hard to muster any real enthusiasm).
    6. SMOG
      The best thing about First Class was casting Fassbender and MacAvoy. I wasn't a fan beyond that. In this Mad Men age, there's really no excuse for such a half-assed 60s setting either.

      Without getting mired in the finer details, Stane, Hammer, and Aldrich were all very much "doubles" for Tony, reflections of him as he could be, and representing the dark side of free market capitalism and unchecked corporate greed. Aldrich is in fact the perfect expression of this because his metamorphosis was born out of his desire to BECOME Tony (in essence). The man Tony used to be was the model for what Aldrich forged himself into. In that sense Aldrich is totally Tony confronting a dark version of himself... one he indirectly helped to create.
    7. SMOG
      I found the goofiness a bit too scatterbrained. I like a plot that has cleaner edges and a bit more consistency.

      I liked the first 2 X-men movies (especially X2) and nothing since. I really liked the spiritual tone and casting of Amazing Spiderman, but it really felt like a movie ruined by studio focus groups and rewrites. It's one of those instances where a film could actually be made pretty good by a process of pure subtraction. I haven't seen the sequel yet, but with Orci and Kurtzman on the script, I have no hopes.

      DC is fumbling the ball, mainly becase they keep passing it to Nolan like he's the only player on the team (okay, so Green Lantern might have burned them a bit). I thought Batman Begins showed great promise, but I've been increasingly disappointed with each subsequent, repetitive, and increasingly stupid installment of the Dark Knight trilogy. Man of Steel... they almost had me, until the third act at least...

      So yeah, Marvel's kickin' it better than anyone else.
    8. SMOG
      Oh, I get the political undercurrent of the Mandarin in this case. Iron Man, probably more than any other superhero, has always represented the "good capitalist" industrialist vs. leftist foreign powers... in his way, he's very much a product of his era. Even in the first movie, the "10 Rings" (an identifiable pseudonym for any comics fan) were already putting a generic contemporary middle-eastern (though ostensibly "international") terrorist spin on the Mandarin's old orientalist cultural bogeyman.

      The underlying critique in Iron Man of the military industrial complex is a bit muddy, but fairly obvious. I see the thematic function of Aldrich very clearly, but by the 3rd movie, it's just not a revelation that I can get excited about. Been there, done that. Can we have a different kind of villain yet? At least this time, the enemies were people with powers, rather than just "bigger, badder iron-men".
    9. SMOG
      All of that said, and to reiterate, I think Marvel's doing a good job with their material. I watch them for the sake of nostalgia, and good old fashioned superhero spectacle, and they tend to deliver in varying degrees. To that end, Bayformers has failed me.
    10. SMOG
      I have mixed feelings about the handling of the Mandarin. The misdirection was sort of cool, but Chris Nolan pulled the same trick almost a decade ago... and the payoff in IM3 is that we get... another Anti-Stark corporate tycoon villain? Hm.

      I think it's more fun to watch than IM2, but it also has a lot of goofiness that didn't work for me. Also the Super-Pepper twist was both interesting and flawed. It sort of bothers me that Marvel keeps trying to amp up the roles of the supporting female love interests, while not actually putting their money where their mouth is by giving us a legit female heroine/lead.

      Thor 2 is dumb. But I rate it better than Thor 1 for the same reasons IM3 > IM2. Thor 1 is just... dull. At least more shit happens in the second one. I know that's faint praise, but if you're dealing with equal levels of mediocrity, a bit of sensationalism helps.

      Shane Black will always just be Hawkins to me. :)
    11. SMOG
      Incidentally, this visitor message system is kind of an awkward way to carry on a conversation, isn't it?
    12. SMOG
      Incredible Hulk was alright. Norton was a brilliant bit of casting for Banner (just as Downey Jr was for Stark). The ending is an anticlimax though... which is the problem with most Marvel movies... they always peak early in terms of emotional investment and audience gratification. Both Cap movies were pretty good (again, a perfunctory, unexciting end for the first one). Thor... acceptable. I do get sort of a kick out of their conscious effort to court the female demographic though, and portraying the Asgardians as "space vikings" is an interesting way to go. Marvel would be lost without Tom Hiddleston though... he's pretty much carried 3 of their movies already. :)
    13. SMOG
      I didn't much like IM3. Needed to be cut down a lot. Still, even if it's not really -better- than IM2, it was at least more fun to watch. My problem with the IM movies is that they are all the same. Every time with the corrupt corporate tycoon, a dark reflection of Tony. It gets a bit tiresome. I think the first one worked because:
      A)Downey JR's performance hadn't yet lapsed into total self-parody
      B)It functioned extremely well as a retelling of the classic Iron Man origin
      C)It hit a lot of the necessary "fuck yeah" moments. :)

      I agree the third act was weaker... perfunctory is the right word. Big confrontation with his evil surrogate father figure/double. Hero loses his mask, but defeats his enemy at the last second through ingenuity. It's the script for every superhero origin story. I joked after Amazing Spider-Man that Peter goes through at least 4 father-figures in one movie. Talk about overkill! Must be a new record! :D
    14. SMOG
      I'm full of too many words. Sometimes it's a problem.

      I understand the principle of "seeing a movie as it was intended". I just can't do it anymore. 3D bothers me immensely. I find it adds nothing, and takes a lot away from the experience. After having 3D ruin enough movies for me, I just resolved to never do it again. I also find that most films these days are not really composed or edited properly for the big screen... maybe not surprising since the production and post-production side is all done on small screens, and then after a short theatrical run, most films live and die on small screens. True big screen cinematography is a rare thing nowadays.

      I saw Gravity on 3D Imax. It's a solid piece of work, technically and formally, even if the script is a bit ridiculous at times. It looked good on Imax. The 3D was okay, but I could still live without it.

      Hoo boy. You should have heard me tear Independence Day apart after seeing it back in '96. :lol
    15. SMOG
      On Marvel... I think Marvel is also very hit or miss... but they have a much safer margin. They still haven't delivered anything truly abyssmal, and they have 2... maybe 3 great comic book movies (Iron Man, Avengers, Winter Soldier are my picks for top 3). They never aim especially high, which I think works for them. They aren't trying to pretend they are something other than pulpy, popcorn-crunching, colourful comic-book movies... they live comfortably in their genre (something Warner has had trouble with, re: Batman, etc). Also, because of Marvel's relationship with their IP, the movies tend to put characters first, and don't try to downplay their comic book roots.
    16. SMOG
      Well, "cool" is pretty subjective. I didn't find myself exclaiming "That's cool!" very often watching Bay's TF movies. "Looking cool" and actually being cool are also different things. In terms of music videos, someone like Michel Gondry was always doing cool stuff. With Bay, it was probably just about looking slick.

      I'm sure I'll end up seeing AoE... on a cheap night, probably on the 3rd week, no 3D, no IMAX... but it also wouldn't kill me to wait for home video. I don't think I've ever walked out of any of the TF movies feeling satisfied, so why do that to myself? :)

      I guess one of the reasons I don't feel compelled to pay attention to Bay is because I don't really consider the TF movies "my franchise"... any more than I consider TF Prime to be something I need to follow. I guess my interest in Transformers is narrow enough that I don't need to soak up every iteration. I like G1 stuff, I like cool toys... anything else really has to knock my socks off to get me to pay attention.
    17. SMOG
      That said, the vertical camera arrangement IS somewhat self-reflexive, because it forces us to confront the film as a plastic stylistic medium that can create meaning and affect beyond a simple presentation of events. The shot makes use of a number of techniques outside realism, in order to evoke emotions that a CGI performer may not be able to convey.

      Or maybe we've just been looking at it too long? :)
    18. SMOG
      Haha... nah, I'm not that interested in Michael Bay, psychologically or otherwise. He's just a crappy dudebro director. I don't need to understand his personal life. :)

      I don't find the tree bothers me... but then, I haven't seen the movie more than, well... once (and now that scene twice). I don't find that it breaks the audience connection with the events on screen, because the tree is still very much part of that profilmic world. You could even take it further, and suggest that a burning tree provides visual iconography that conveys all sorts of associative, epic, even biblical resonances.

      Or it could just be on fire, and Bay likes things that are on fire. At the very least, it's dramatic. :)
    19. SMOG
      I think Spielberg has some weaknesses as well, but he knows his stuff. However I feel about Spielberg, he's still a real filmmaker. Bay is in no way comparable, I agree.

      However, I kind of like the flaming tree in that last shot. It creates a spatial reference point to contrast the abstract motion of Prime's fall, while also providing a bit of depth of field for visual interest's sake (foreground/middleground/background). My favourite part is the end though, when he slams into the ground, and the camera holds the shot, driving home the abnormal camera orientation.

      Not that I'm totally in love with that shot or anything, but it's nicely done, taken on its own... the most interesting part of the sequence, arguably.
    20. SMOG
      To the first reply: I certainly agree with the first paragraph. I once described his TF movies as "a turd wrapped in colourful cellophane". I think his films have a lot of surface gloss, but there's often still something sort of crude and tacky about them. But I don't think that comes from having something to prove. The dude made high-priced commercials for years... gloss is part of his skill-set. He has the skillz... but part of being a good artist is knowing when and how to use them.

      The second bit feels a little too much like armchair psychoanalysis. I'm not sure he's worth that much effort. It's also kind of weird, since Bay is like, the most visibly pro-military self-entitled douchebag sell-out on the Hollywood scene.
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